Useful website for LGBT Africa
January 9, 2011 – Huffington Post
Leading Cameroonian Gay Rights Activist Fears Arrest
by Mark Canavera
Recent television reports suggest that Alice Nkom, the well-known lawyer who founded the Cameroonian non-profit Association to Defend Homosexuals (ADEFHO), may be arrested in the next few days. A representative of Cameroon’s Ministry of Communication suggested on the television show Canal Plus Sunday afternoon that Ms. Nkom was guilty of crimes against Cameroon’s law, sovereignty, and independence. Her alleged crime is to have applied successfully for a grant from the European Union to combat homophobia in Cameroon.
Homosexual acts are punishable by five year imprisonment and a fine of 50 to 500 dollars in Cameroon. Recent research suggests that beyond the prison term and the fine, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Cameroon are subject to abuse in prison, violent attacks in their communities, and loss of custody of their children. Ms. Nkom’s organization works to combat these human rights violations, and on January 4, it was announced that ADEFHO had received a 300,000 Euro grant from the European Union for a project entitled, "Support and training for sexual minorities."
Anti-LGBT sentiment coalesced quickly with some Cameroonians denouncing this grant as European intervention in Cameroonian affairs. Detractors claim that the European Union is financing a project whose activities are illegal under Cameroonian law, making the European Union complicit and equally responsible for any crimes committed. Human rights advocates note, on the other hand, that although homosexual acts are illegal in Cameroon, LGBT identities are not criminalized. Work with LGBT people, therefore, remains legal as long as it does not include or promote same-sex sexual acts.
On January 7, a spokesperson for a coalition of youth organizations declared a "fatwa" against LGBT people in Cameroon, calling on youth to "track them, denounce them, without any pity, not a single bit." Since then, that same spokesperson has threatened mass protests outside of the European Union office in Cameroon and called upon the government to block the transfer of the money to Ms. Nkom’s organization. He has also called for the arrest of the European Union representative. The momentum against Ms. Nkom and her organization is growing and has taken a more sinister turn with the televised statements from the Minister of Communication representative, accusing Ms. Nkom of criminal behavior.
"We must remain vigilant for her safety," says Charles Gueboguo, African scholar and author of a book-length study on homosexuality in Cameroon. "She is the only lawyer operating in Cameroon who defends the rights of LGBT people, work that she does pro bono. Now her outspokenness has made her a challenge to the government’s homophobic policies, so they want to shut her up."
Ms. Nkom herself is worried but taking the news in stride. "Do not worry for me," she wrote in an e-mail to a group of Cameroon’s leading gay rights activists. "I believe I will be arrested in the coming days, but I will not lose sleep over this or, especially, abandon what we have begun together." Ms. Nkom was briefly arrested in 2006 while visiting one of her gay clients in prison.
February 15, 2011 – Human Rights Watch
LGBT Africans Face Blackmail and Extortion on a Regular Basis – Homophobic Laws and Social Stigma to Blame
(Johannesburg) Antiquated laws against same-sex sexual activity as well as deeply ingrained social stigma result in the all-too-frequent targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Africa for blackmail and extortion, said the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) in a report launched today.
The report, Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, illustrates how LGBT Africans are made doubly vulnerable by the criminalization of homosexuality and the often-violent stigmatization they face if their sexuality is revealed. Based on research from 2007 to the present, the volume features articles and research by leading African activists and academics on the prevalence, severity and impact of these human rights violations on LGBT people in Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
"The tragic reality is that blackmail and extortion are part of the daily lives of many LGBT Africans who are isolated and made vulnerable by homophobic laws and social stigma," says IGLHRC’s Executive Director, Cary Alan Johnson. "The responsibility clearly lies with governments to address these crimes and the underlying social and legal vulnerability of LGBT people."
The report’s authors vividly depict the isolation, humiliation and manipulation to which LGBT people are subjected by blackmailers and extortionists and describe the threats of exposure, theft, assault, and rape, that can damage and even destroy the lives of victims. Vulnerability to these crimes is faced on a regular basis and families and communities are not safe havens. For example, according to research conducted in Cameroon and featured in the report, "the bulk of blackmail and extortion attempts were committed by other members of the community – 33.9% by neighbors, 11.8% by family members, 11.5% by classmates, and 14.1% by homosexual friends. Police were often complicit in this – either by ignoring or dismissing it or, in 11.5% of cases, directly perpetrating it."
Nowhere to Turn explores the role the State plays in these crimes by ignoring blackmail and extortion carried out by police and other officials by failing to prosecute blackmailers, and by charging LGBT victims under sodomy laws when they do find the courage to report blackmail to the authorities. IGLHRC urges States to take concrete steps to reduce the incidence of these crimes by decriminalizing same-sex sexual activity, educating officials and communities about blackmail laws, and ensuring that all people are able to access judicial mechanisms without prejudice.
For more information, please contact:
Chivuli Ukwimi (IGLHRC, in Cape Town)
(27) 79-443-3938 – email
Jessica Stern (IGLHRC, in New York)
(+1) 212-430-6014 – email
Sam Cook (IGLHRC, in Johannesburg)
11 April, 2011 – MSM Global Forum
Two Cameroonian citizens, detained for homosexuality since October 2010, have been released
by Douala, Cameroon
Bruno A. and Marc-Henri B, two Cameroonian citizens, detained for homosexuality in Yaounde Central Prison since October 7, 2010 have been released this Thursday, April 7, 2011. They had been arrested since September 27, 2010 by officers of the gendarmerie of Yaounde I in the context of a search warrant for theft by a third party at the home of the neighbor of a mutual friend who was home.
In the minutes summary of the preliminary investigation, the brigade commander explains that: ‘The man named Mr. Emmanuel is the author of robbery at the home of Miss D. H. […] At his body search at the office of our unit, he was found carrying condoms and lubricant in which it was mentioned “ slim between guys” he collected from his friends who have hosted during stay in Yaounde. Thus, a search of their homes has allowed us to capture a large batch of condoms and lubricants homosexual […] The appointed Bruno A. and Marc-Henri B. acknowledge being gay […] For greater certainty, we also requested the Chief Medical Officer of the National Gendarmerie in order to examine the genitals and anal to the effect of the aforementioned are to inform us if they had had anal sex in the past they are suspected. "
On Thursday, April 7, 2011, Alternatives Cameroon Association represented by its President Parfait Behen, its Chief Executive officer Yves Yomb and Chief Financial Officer Franz Mananga met the two ex-convicts in Yaounde, immediately after their release from prison in the presence of lawyer appointed by the association Me Michel Togue. They have testified us of beatings, torture, rape and other humiliations they have suffered at the hands of other inmates and guards prisoners over the past six months in jail closed to Central Prison in Yaoundé Nkodengui. During our meeting, we found their physical, psychological states discomfort and require immediate care on medical and psychosocial support.
– Congratulate itself for the release of Bruno and Marc-Henri;
– Condemns once again the use of prevention materials – Condoms and lubricant gel-like evidence of a sexual offense;
– Wonders and worries about the safety of its health workers in prevention, the target MSM (Men Who Have Sex With Men) and actions of prevention and awareness HIV / AIDS and other STIs, which are conducted on the territory of Cameroon ;
– Wonders how men who have sex with other men, Included in the Cameroonians Strategic Plan 2011-2015 as Vulnerable populations and included in the proposal of Cameroon in Round 10 of the Global Fund, will benefit from preventive services without be worried if the lubricant and condoms that are supposed to protect them against the pandemic can be found as evidence of sexual offense and sealed;
– Wonders how Cameroon will achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals of UNAIDS which is to halt the spread of HIV / AIDS and begin to reverse by 2015;
– Offended about medical examinations and Punishment (anoscopy) that are made on individuals suspected homosexuals and used as evidence of homosexuality;
– Reiterates its demand for the depenalization of the 347 bis article in the Cameroonian penal code that criminalizes homosexual acts and is manipulated in an arbitrary manner at the expense of Cameroonian citizens as evidence of sexual offense. (Request made by the association with Cameroonian authorities and the diplomatic representations in its various advocacy).
For more information contact Alternatives-Cameroon.
27 April, 2011 – SlateAfrique
Translated from French
In Cameroon, Homosexuals No Longer Hide
by Stéphane Tchakam
On 27 April 2011, the young Clotaire N. was severely beaten by his mother and sister and driven from the family home in a popular district of Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. He calls for help Alternatives Cameroon, an organization that defends human rights. He asked the famous designer Perfect Behen, president of the association, to beg his mother to return. "I had the mother on the phone and I was shocked by her remarks regarding her own child. She said she still wanted more, he could go to hell and had more room in his house. This child is in distress he suffered enormously, "says Behen Perfect. Stories like these, there are many in Douala, Yaoundé and in many other cities in Cameroon. Those young people that deny families because they suspect their son’s homosexuality or daughter because they have learned as a result of some "outing."
A difficult day
Philippe Njaboue, homosexual too, has thirty. It is at odds with his big brother: "When he knew, he stopped all contact with me, forbade me to see his children that he thought I could contaminate and treated me as an ambassador of the devil." Philippe is one of the few kwandengue, refer to themselves as gays themselves in Cameroon, which "assume, appear and demand." A real exception! Candas Fenty, another young gay man, he does not appear: "People look at me as someone strange. In my neighborhood, people freeze or stop their conversations when I come to pass. We stared at the people I attend. I myself have to be careful when leaving home. I saw it as a psychological pressure. "
But things are often much worse. The depso, as most people call wickedly homos in major Cameroonian cities, may be treated worse than "dogs". Insulted, threatened and abused, they are hunted down at their place of work, as Aisha A. who has seen his life changed when her family learned she was a lesbian. Nevermind the racketeering and denunciations that ultimately the police or in prisons. On April 28, 2011 Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was sentenced to 36 months in prison by the Court of First Instance of Yaounde. According to Article 347 bis of the Penal Code, "is punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs [31 to 305 euros] any person who has sexual intercourse with a person of her sex. "
This provision is a veritable sword of Damocles hanging over the gay and reinforces homophobia. That’s what Stephen Koch believes Association gay rights (ADEFHO): "The repeal of this 347 bis help deconstruct the perception that Cameroonians have of homosexuality." It is certainly not there. Because according to a study by the association, nearly 200 people every year, worried and even dragged to court for reversal.
Originally, the sermon of a bishop
In recent years, the issue of homosexuality and homophobia she carries has arisen in the public arena in Cameroon. A homily of the Archbishop of Yaounde, in late 2005 and the case lists of persons suspected homosexuals in early 2006 and in January 2011, a project for homosexuals whose government has denounced the European Union funding. Each time, these cases in the news unleash a wave of anti-homosexual responses in a country where the name of tradition, religion, culture, homosexuality is an abomination.
Stéphane Koch gets carried away, returning to the origins of the rise of homophobia in his country: "This is the homily of Bishop Tonye Bakot, Archbishop of Yaoundé, so to speak, started it. He said we were a country where men were to drop their pants for a position, to enter a high school in short, he said it was a means for social advancement. It should also say that promotions sofa did not start with men. They began and continue with the women and nobody complains. At the time, I was a student at the University of Douala and I can tell you that this speech was a damn scared extraordinary students. All those who aspired to become this or that imagined that they would go through it. And it has crystallized the hatred of homosexuality and homosexuals not only the university but also in the Cameroonian society. " In the Cameroonian society where traditional anchors and religious beliefs are very strong homosexuality is still treated as an importation of white or, worse, a way to just weaken African societies. Of witchcraft or sectarian practices. Close the banns!
Amalgams and advanced
Activist Human Rights and Executive Director of the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa (Redhac) Maximilienne Ngo Mbe tempers: "The problem is that all these people who shoot homosexuals are not telling the truth. There is homosexuality natural, ordinary, that has nothing to do with these sectarian practices and does not even show. The truth is that there are sects that use and functionalize the youth who wants a job who wants to make his life and dreams. " Something to tell the sociologist Charles Gueboguo, in a recent interview with the daily Liberation that "homosexuals are scapegoats," often forced to conceal their trends in the coverage of marriages of convenience and the double life that goes with it. But according to many advocates for their rights, things are gradually changing for homosexuals. Yves Yomba, advocate for sexual minorities:
"The government has taken the measure of the problem of AIDS among homosexuals, has integrated in its strategy against the disease and encourages us. It has dragged its feet and even if health workers continue to discriminate against patients on the basis of their homosexuality, I think it beforehand. "
Behen Perfect Chair Alternatives Cameroon welcomes the progress of the Catholic Church on the subject: "Even the Vatican has evolved on these issues by asking that we not condemn homosexuality for most people. It is strange that nobody talks about. It’s true. "
Master Alice Nkom, which became known as the lawyer of homosexuals in Cameroon, do not budge: "Since we are debating this issue, people are listening. Many of them feel challenged by what we say because we provide them with facts and law. Elements that lead them to say: "I do not agree with what you do, but I do not see why we would put them in jail. I do not agree with them and I do not watch ". Ultimately, that’s all we asked.
As they do respect their right to privacy, respect for others. For me, things are moving in the right direction. But currently, the Ministry of Justice is preparing the reform of the penal code. And when you read what he prepares, we see that maintains homosexuality as an offense. And it could happen to the extent that the Department of Justice, we have someone who is a prisoner of his own convictions, his own design that draws perhaps its his religion and custom and which may, position, influence all over Cameroon in the development of new code. "
To learn more about the International Day against Homophobia, visit homophobie.org
17 May, 2011 – Human Rights Watch
Cameroon: ‘Sodomy’ Law Violates Basic Rights
The March arrest, conviction, and sentencing of Roger Jean-Claude Mbede to three years in prison for being homosexual is a gross violation of Mbede’s rights to freedom of expression and equality guaranteed by the Cameroonian constitution, Alternatives-Cameroun, Association pour la Defense de l’Homosexualitè (ADEFHO), and Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Cameroon’s top leaders. Under section 347 bis, a person who engages in "sexual relations with a person of the same sex" can face a prison term of up to five years. Mbede was sentenced after admitting to his sexual orientation while in police custody. However, the law directly contravenes international human rights treaties, which, the Cameroonian constitution states, apply directly in the country.
"This law criminalizes consensual sexual conduct and violates the fundamental rights to privacy, equality, and freedom of expression of all Cameroonians," said Alice Nkom of ADEFHO. "The fear and stigma attached to homosexuality is such that the police use the mere existence of the law to trap individuals with impunity. And courts convict those accused even in the absence of evidence." In their letter, ADEFHO, Alternatives-Cameroun, and Human Rights Watch urge Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Hon. Amadou Ali to initiate a review of the law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct and the conviction in this case, and call on the General Delegate of Security Martin Mbarga Nguélé and the Secretary of State for Defence Jean Baptiste Bokam to cease arrests under section 347 bis of the Cameroonian penal code.
Mbede sent an acquaintance a text message and arranged to meet him on March 2, 2011. When he arrived at the designated meeting place, he found his acquaintance in the company of policemen, who took him into custody. The police questioned Mbede who admitted that he was homosexual. Cameroonian law dictates that a person cannot be held in custody for longer than 48 hours without being charged. Mbede was held for seven days at the Gendarmerie du SED Yaoundé before he was charged and transferred to Yaoundé Central Prison. Mbede made three appearances at the Court of First Instance in Yaoundé and on April 28, he was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. Mbede is currently serving his sentence at Yaoundé Central Prison. Cameroonian activists say that Mbede faces threats to his physical safety in prison because of his sexual orientation.
"The Cameroonian criminal justice system is failing to uphold basic rights," Yves Yomb of Alternatives-Cameroun. "In other cases, an accusation from a third party suffices as ‘evidence.’ The existence of this law and its use with such impunity makes a mockery of civil liberties in the country." In 2010, four human rights organizations, including ADEFHO, Alternatives-Cameroun, and Human Rights Watch, jointly published a report documenting the many violations of fundamental rights faced by lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people in Cameroon. The report exposes arbitrary detention, scant regard for due process, and sentencing without evidence under section 347 bis. The report documents abuses in detention, both pre-trial and in prison, by police and prison personnel, including beatings, torture, and verbal abuse.
Even written complaints by prisoners about abuse from guards receive no response from the authorities. Prison authorities often inform other inmates about the presumed sexual orientation of individuals incarcerated under section 347 bis. This results in constant threats, violence, and insults against such prisoners. The report documents cases in which inmates presumed to be homosexual have been physically beaten as well as sexually assaulted by other inmates, with prison personnel failing to protect them and even encouraging such violence.
Prison authorities provide no materials or information about safer sex in prison despite the fact that coerced as well as voluntary sexual activity takes place among inmates. Despite the government’s stated commitment to including men who have sex with men in Cameroon’s HIV and AIDS national strategy, conditions in prison are such that not only is the risk of HIV transmission among inmates high, but also that HIV positive inmates often receive no treatment while in prison, which places their lives at extreme risk.
"A prison term can be life-threatening for inmates, particularly those who are presumed to be homosexual," said Dipika Nath of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "Cameroon’s police, judges, and other government officials are allowing their prejudices against lesbians and gay men to override legal standards they have sworn to uphold." ADEFHO, Alternatives-Cameroun, and Human Rights Watch said that section 347 bis and the abuses faced by individuals because of their presumed or actual sexual orientation and gender expression violate rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Cameroon acceded to on June 27, 1984, and June 20, 1989, respectively.
These rights include the rights to privacy; health; freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; protection against torture and inhuman and degrading treatment; freedom of expression, association, and information; non-discrimination and equal protection of the law; the rights of prisoners in detention; and the rights of women.
7 June 2011 – PinkNews
Amnesty fights for Cameroonian man jailed for three years on charges of being gay
by Christopher Brocklebank
Thousands of Amnesty International supporters are appealing to the authorities in Cameroon for the immediate release of a man jailed for charges of “homosexuality and attempted homosexuality”. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was arrested in March by members of Cameroon’s security service while meeting an acquaintance. Prior to their meeting, the acquaintance had shown to the police text messages he had received from Mr Mbede. Mr Mbede was then taken into custody on suspicion of being gay. He was held at the Gendarmerie du Lac detention centre in the capital, Yaoundé. A week later he was charged with homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and transferred to Kondengui central prison on 9 March.
On 28 April, Mr Mbede was found guilty of the aforementioned charges and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. He is currently serving his sentence at Kondengui central prison where he is at risk of homophobic attacks from fellow inmates and prison staff owing to his sexual orientation, whether it is real or perceived. Cameroon is an adamantly homophobic country and the arrests, prosecutions and trials of gay men occur regularly, say Amnesty International. Section 347a of the Cameroonian penal code states: “Whoever has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and with a fine ranging from 20,000 Francs CFA to 200,000 Francs CFA” (approximately £21 to £215).
This contravenes the international and regional human rights treaties (including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights) which Cameroon has signed and ratified.
Amnesty International’s LGBT Campaign Manager Clare Bracey said: “Locking someone up for their real or perceived sexual orientation is a flagrant breach of basic rights and should not be allowed under any country’s penal code. Because of the state’s intolerance to homosexuality and the general social attitude, homophobia is rife in Cameroon and Amnesty International fears for the safety of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede while he is in prison. We’re urging the Cameroonian government to repeal this law under the penal code in accordance with its international human rights obligations, and to immediately and unconditionally release Mr Mbede.”
Prison conditions in Kondengui are harsh, with overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate food. Mr Mbede’s lawyers are currently appealing against his sentence.
June 2011 – IGLHRC
Nowhere to Turn
New York – In January 2011, IGLHRC released the report, Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report, already well-received by organizations across Africa, illustrates how LGBT Africans are made doubly vulnerable by the criminalization of homosexuality and the often-violent stigmatization they face if their sexuality is revealed. Based on research from 2007 to the present, the volume features articles and research by leading African activists and academics on the prevalence, severity and impact of these human rights violations on LGBT people in Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
Read the complete 140-page report: Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa.
A violent attack on gay couples suspected
by Habibou Bangré
May 14, Yannick and Christian drank a drink in a bar gay-friendly of the mango tree, a district of Yaounde, the political capital of Cameroon. To 23h, they were attacked by "a gang of four young people" homophobes, whose cousin Butch. Cameroon’s three associations (Sid’Ado the Adefho and Cofendho), who interviewed Christian and one of the owners of the bar, Yannick explained that was the victim of a "beating of a rare violence" and that he had "several broken ribs, serious injuries and nearly lost an eye."
Clubs and machetes
"As for Christian, who tried to defend himself and defend his friend, they would have inflicted the same treatment, ongoing associations. The attackers, along with other people who came because of the altercation, dragged him around the neighborhood with the firm intention to burn him alive. Because for them, and it was clear that Yannick had become gay because of him. "And the international press associations noted that Christian was saved in extremis, while at the bar the other guests were taken to task by people "armed with clubs and machetes." Sid’Ado the Adefho Cofendho and denounced the "barbaric scenes of extraordinary violence" and "condemns with the utmost energy and with firm determination."
Disabled man arrested, stripped, insulted and severely beaten
A disabled man of forty years was arrested, stripped, insulted and severely beaten on the night of Thursday, June 23 at the Grand Moulin Deido area (Douala-Cameroon). He was also accused of being a homosexual. The victim, named Gervais asked his older brother, a friend of the neighborhood through a difficult period. Following a history of theft of money occurred in Gervais’s brother, the friend suspected for this flight took flight. Wednesday, June 22, 2011, Gervais going to visit his family in Grand-Moulin area fell on the friend. Can not talk at that time, they are given an appointment the next day Thursday, June 23, 2011.
After several calls Thursday day visit around midnight by his friend, Gervais visited the family home of the latter. This indicator happen Gervais jumps on him, he begins to touch his penis and tells him that the neighborhood has always said he is gay and wants to check it out. Gervais refusing to yield to his advances, decides to return.
So the friend started to scream and alert the neighborhood. Unable to run because of his handicap, Gervais was arrested and copiously beaten, stripped naked, insulted as "fags, pedophiles" and ready to be burned. He was saved only through the intervention of the Head of the district who unfortunately could not calm the ardor of the crowd. The Office of the area has been notified and so was taken to the Commissioner of the 9th arrondissement.
The investigator, the Commissioner and the complainant spoke of pedophilia although this age of thirty after finally admitted it was a premeditated action. Gervais’s sister had to pay about $ 100 for it to be reduced. Since that time, Gervais feels persecuted, rejected by his family and his entourage lived in fear as the young in her neighborhood have made a promising step to lynch him if he ventured back into the corner.
View pdf here
15 August 2011 – PinkNews
Amnesty: Cameroon must release men on gay sex charges
by Jessica Geen
Amnesty International has called for Cameroonian officials to immediately release two young men charged with homosexuality offences. The pair, a 19-year-old known only as Jonas, and a 20-year-old known only as Francky – were arrested on July 25th in a car outside a night club in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé. Cameroon law criminalises homosexuality. Although the relevant part of the penal code has been in force since 1972, human rights campaigners say it has been far more stringently enforced in recent years. The young men are being held at Yaoundé’s Kondengui central prison.
Erwin Van Der Borght, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director, said: “Given the high level of officially sanctioned homophobia in Cameroon, those arrested under this law are at risk of attack or other forms of ill-treatment by fellow prisoners, or by prison authorities, because of their alleged sexual orientation. Cameroon should repeal this draconian law. By arresting people purely because of their alleged sexual orientation, the Cameroonian government is flagrantly violating international human rights treaties which it has signed or ratified.”
According to the human rights charity, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede is serving a 36-month prison sentence in the prison over text messages he sent to a male acquaintance.
August 17, 2011 – African Spotlight
Cameroon: Men Arrested For Looking Gay
Three men were arrested and jailed in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon for appearing feminine. The Association pour la Defense de l’Homosexualite, and Human Rights Watch reported that they were returning from a bar when they were arrested and detained by the police because two of them appeared feminine. According to the two detainees, Jonas and Franky, whose ages are respectively 19 and 20, were in the company of an older man that night when the police assumed they were women because of their feminine appearance. However, upon checking their identification documents, they were identified as men. The police took all three to the office of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of the first subdivision of Yaounde, where they were held until August 1.
The three were jailed on July 25 for one week. A Cameroonian civil society group that has been working on their case said they were tortured and abused by the police during this time. One of them was released a week later, while the remaining two were charged with “homosexuality” under Section 347 bis of Cameroon’s penal code, which criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual conduct. They will be tried at the Court of First Instance in Ekounou, Yaounde, tomorrow, August 18.
Alice Nkom, Director, ADEFHO, while reacting said, “Police in Cameroon are arresting people for supposedly looking homosexual, which is absurd and also violates Cameroon’s constitution as well as international law. They are relying on a discriminatory statute to punish people simply for the way they look.” Cameroonian law declares that a detainee may be held for only up to 48 hours before being brought before a magistrate or judge. However, all three individuals were held for seven days before being charged.
They said they were tortured to make them confess being homosexuals while in custody. Earlier this year, a man was also sentenced to three years imprisonment for admitting being homosexual. There was also no evidence to prove in his case. In 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended that Cameroon should decriminalize consensual homosexual conduct. Cameroon’s constitution grants equal rights, freedom, and security to all persons and ensures the protection of minorities.
August 27, 2011 – African Activist
Four Men Arrested in Cameroon and Charged with Homosexuality
Cameroonian authorities arrested four men aged 17 to 46 on Friday for homosexuality and remanded them in custody. One of the men was arrested after what looks like a sting operation by police. The other three were arrested after visiting the man. This follows the arrest of three men at the end of last month. "All four were remanded in custody yesterday (Friday) after having been charged the same day," said Michel Togue. Two of them were also charged with "indecent behaviour involving a minor".
The lawyer said one of the accused "said he was arrested at his home on August 10" in the capital Yaounde after "somebody turned up and asked to see a ‘gay film’ in his company". It was "obviously a set-up because police arrived to arrest him as they were watching the film", he added. The three others were arrested when they visited him after his arrest. Police were not available Saturday to comment on the arrests which take the number of those detained in less than a month to seven.
Three Cameroonian men were arrested at the end of last month after returning from a bar in Yaoundé. The two men detained for feminine appearance were tortured in police custody and charged under laws criminalising homosexuality. They were tried at the Court of First Instance in Ekounou, Yaoundé on 18 August. Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was sentenced to 36 months in prison for homosexuality in May. He was also entrapped and then arrested by police. Amnesty International have classified him as a prisoner of conscience. The Cameroonian government is preparing to reform its criminal code and may toughen laws criminalising homosexuality according to Alice Nkom, head of the Association pour la Défense de l’Homosexualité (ADEFHO). The age of consent for heterosexual couples in Cameroon is 16. The proposed laws would punish homosexual couples between the ages of 16 and 21 with eight years in prison for pedophilia.
15 September 2011 – AllOut
Alice and her colleagues in Cameroon are overjoyed, and are asking us to keep spreading the word!
Alice N’Kom is one of the only attorneys in Cameroon who defends people who’ve been jailed for the "crime" of being gay.
In the last 2 weeks, gay men have been snatched from their homes and public places and thrown in jail just for being gay. The situation is approaching a crisis and Alice told us she and her colleagues are ready to confront the President to demand the release of those arrested and an end to laws that make being gay a crime. But she needs the support of people around the world:
"I need to show the president of Cameroon that the world is behind me".
Please sign the urgent letter, then ask your friends and family to do the same. Alice and her colleagues are brave enough speak out, and it only takes a minute to add your voice and to make theirs even stronger.
September 26, 2011 – IGLHRC
Cameroon Must End Discriminatory Anti-gay Laws – Release all individuals held under a law that ciminalizes same-sex relations
The Cameroonian authorities must end the persecution of gays and lesbians and repeal laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations, five human rights organizations said today in an open letter to the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch joined the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), L’Association pour la Défense des Droits des Homosexuel(le)s (ADEFHO) and Alternatives Cameroun in urging the government to release all individuals detained under the discriminatory law.
“This use of criminal law to punish private sexual activity between consenting adults contravenes international human rights laws that Cameroon has signed and ratified,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. "We are receiving an increasing number of reports that individuals are being targeted not only because of their sexual behaviour, which is the subject of these discriminatory laws, but because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This use of criminal law to punish identities, as well as behaviours, is deeply concerning,” he added.
The organizations also ask that the government take steps to ensure the end of detentions, arrests and harassment of individuals on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In the last six months, at least ten individuals in Yaoundé and Douala have been arrested under the law. One man, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 28 April 2011. At least six others, arrested in July and August 2011, remain in custody, while three men were arrested and then released. “We have received information that at least some of these men were subjected to torture or other ill-treatment while in custody,” said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
The human rights organizations also express their concern at Cameroon’s plans to increase the penalties for consensual same-sex sexual acts under the law to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 2 million francs CFA ($ 4104 USD). “Individuals who are detained under this law face further human rights violations in detention,” said Alice Nkom, executive director of Cameroon rights organization ADEFHO. “In Cameroon, where homophobic sentiments are common, they are at risk of violence or discriminatory treatment by other detainees or even prison officers because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.
As well as the human rights violations perpetrated against individuals detained under the law, discriminatory laws also have a wider impact on Cameroonian society. “Discriminatory laws that target individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity create a climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals,” said Parfait Behen, the president of Alternatives Cameroun. “These laws allow police and other actors to target individuals for harassment or violence with impunity, said Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of IGLHRC.
Open letter to His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon
Jabu Pereira, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
+1-646-204-5797 or email
4 November 2011 – LGBT Asylum News
Second Chance for Roger
by F. Young
In April 28, Roger Jean Claude Mbede, a 29 year old student from Cameroon, was sentenced to three years in jail for homosexuality and attempted homosexuality. His appeal of that judgment will be heard this Monday, Nov 7. According to a news release by three Cameroonian groups, Mdebe had met the man through a teacher. He had feelings for him and sent him a text message to tell him so. However, the man alerted the police and, when Mdebe came to meet him on March 2, he was arrested. At the trial, Mbede was represented by Alice Nkom, 66, a noted lawyer and LGBT rights activist who has been defending LGBT clients for over 10 years despite threats of arrest and violence. In recognition of her activism, she was named the Grand Marshall of Montreal’s gay pride parade in August. Mdebe was convicted even though there was no evidence of criminal conduct, according to a Human Rights Watch release on Aug. 17.
Alternatives-Cameroun, who visited Mbede in the infamous Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé this summer, said that he was suffering from lack of food and was in deplorable mental health. with an untreated condition affecting his left eye. He had to sleep on the floor of his cell, and had been abandoned by most of his family members, who regard him as a wizard. Amnesty International says that "[p]rison conditions in Kondengui are harsh, with inmates suffering overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate food. Prison guards are poorly trained, ill-equipped and and their numbers inadequate for a large prison population." The group fears for Mbede’s safety while he is in prison, where he is at risk of homophobic attacks by inmates or prison authorities.
"A prison term can be life-threatening for inmates, particularly those who are presumed to be homosexual," said Dipika Nath of Human Rights Watch in a statement dated May 17. Along with four other human rights groups, Amnesty International has launched an international letter-writing campaign demanding Mbede’s release and the repeal of the law banning homosexual sex.
11 November 2011 – MSM Global Forum
Press Release on ambush of gay men on internet
Since two weeks, it prevails in the city of Yaoundé in Cameroon a climate of fear and concern among the gay community. The lookouts ambush on the website frequented by and scams have become common with the complicity of certain law enforcement as well as M. Ekobo the author of these ambush. The latest victim, Steve O, will not soon forget what happened to him. The latter after a dialogue on a website with M. Ekobo, decided to meet at Santa Barbara area in Yaoundé, in a place call: Snack "Oasis".
When Steve O arrived at the place of the rendez-vous, he was greeted by M. Ekobo who immediately declared to be there to help in the arrest of homosexuals. It then followed an altercation and a fight between the two men who were later joined by some elements of the gendarmerie of Etoudi.
Steve O was taken to the gendarmerie of Etoudi station on Monday 7th November 2011. Informed by the President of Humanity First Cameroon, a tripartite delegation composed of Alternatives-Cameroon, Humanity First Cameroon and the family of Steve O, were mobilized to give him a moral and legal support.
Note that the president of Humanity First Cameroon and two of his members who have decided to go to the gendarmerie station were detained several hours in the same gendarmerie of Etoudi before being released. Steve O was released last Wednesday the 9th November 2011 after his family had paid a sum of 70,000 CFA francs to the chief of the gendarmerie of Etoudi who seemed more sensitive to financial gain of the case than to hear legal arguments advanced by the lawyer. Last Thursday 10th November 2011, the same M. Ekobo wanted to renew his act, holding another ambush to another gay on internet. But he failed this time. The two men were taken this time at the gendarmerie of Melen in Yaoundé where the chief of the brigade is a close relative of Steve O, victim of the same M.Ekobo last Monday.
The chief of Brigade of Melen who has followed the case of the nephew, immediately appealed to him to identify M.Ekobo. Also note that the number of victims of this ambush is at least twenty people. The chief of gendarmerie of Melen finally released M.Ekobo after a pressure he received.
Alternatives-Cameroon and Humanity First regret that our security forces who are supposed to protect population against this type of individual and actions are found to be involved in a high-level of such actions. Alternatives-Cameroon and Humanity First believe that these abuses persist because of the existence of the Article 347 Bis which penalize same sex practice in Cameroon.
Call for the arrest and incarceration of actors of such acts and finally ask once again to the repeal of the article 347 Bis of the Cameroonian penal code.
View full article here
24 November 2011 – PinkNews
3 gay men in Cameroon jailed for 5 years
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
A court in Cameroon has sentenced three gay men arrested in July to five years in prison for engaging in gay sex, their lawyer said on Wednesday. Michel Togue told AFP that: “It’s a bad ruling because it is a blatant violation of the law”. The sentences are believed to be the toughest prescribed by the country’s law. Gay rights groups in Cameroon have reacted in horror at the judgement.
“It’s a shocking and unacceptable,” said Alice Nkom, president of the gay advocacy group Adefho. She added: “It is not worthy of a country that speaks of human rights”. In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk earlier this month, Nkom spoke of her ongoing struggle to protect gays against prosecution under Cameroonian law.
Thirty eight of Africa’s 53 countries currently have laws penalising homosexuality and the trend in recent years has been to issue even stronger penalties. Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, head of an umbrella youth organisation which includes more than 400 associations, said that he was “very pleased” by the ruling, adding that the West was trying to impose its values on Cameroon. “We are in a war against homosexuals,” he said. In September, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Cameron President Paul Biya expressing concern over the country’s desire to introduce even tougher anti-gay laws.